Sales enablement is a popular software product category these days. Aragon Research has estimated the U.S. sales engagement market is worth $780 million. And the firm thinks it will exceed $5 billion by 2021.
Showpad, a player in this space, recently raised an additional $25 million in a Series C round. The new funding comes from Insight Venture Partners, the same company that invested in Showpad a couple years ago.
CUSTOMER recently interviewed Showpad CEO Pieterjan Bouten to learn more about this important space, his company, its products, and the plans for growth.
Tell us about the Showpad solution.
Showpad focuses on bridging the gap between sales and marketing to drive more revenue faster with a better buying experience, intelligent sales content, and an analytics-powered platform that’s smarter than traditional sales enablement.
Customers are tired of traditional presentations. It’s not just about what you present, but also how you present it. Our solution allows sellers to personalize each sales conversation with tailored content delivered in visual, engaging buyer experiences that fit their business needs. Not every sales presentation is linear, and therefore, a static slide deck isn’t always the best solution. With Showpad, salespeople can leverage dynamic mind maps, visually present products and services, and edit in real time as conversations occur in person. Marketers can guide sales teams to the best content for each sales conversation, and allow them to present it in a visual, branded environment.
You mentioned analytics and machine learning are part of the solution.
Powered by machine learning, Showpad recommends content based on factors such as industry, content usage, and revenue data. Together with intelligent search and an intuitive interface, salespeople can always find what they need on any device – even when offline.
By using the analytics and user insights on Showpad’s platform, marketing can measure the ROI of their content, and make content decisions based on measured performance. Sales teams, on the other hand, gain visibility into what their prospects are thinking, and shorten sales cycles by identifying key stakeholders and tailoring timely follow ups. The analytics helps organizations better understand the effectiveness of their content, allowing them to optimize their strategy, and increase ROI by identifying best practices for each asset. These analytics capabilities are available in-app, and in both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
What pain points do you help customers address?
Marketing teams produce great content that gets prospects interested and engaged, but this content isn’t always used by sales teams to help close deals.
Showpad’s analytics provide both teams with key insights into what content is resonating with prospects and which is not. From there, marketing teams can improve their impact on sales and determine the ROI of their efforts, and sales teams can increase productivity. Instead of spending time finding or creating the right content, salespeople have better content at their fingertips and can focus on having value-driven conversations with prospects.
Who is your target customer?
Sales and marketing teams in mid-market and enterprise organizations are our top targets. We have customers in more than 50 countries, with our largest concentrations in Europe and the U.S. Some of our target verticals are the health care industry, manufacturers, construction companies, the chemical industry, and technology companies.
How many paying customers use Showpad?
Showpad now works with more than 1,000 companies around the world to improve sales engagement.
How many sales people across these businesses use your platform?
More than 100,000 sales people worldwide use Showpad.
What’s your go-to-market strategy?
Our primary channel is direct sales, with a mix of digital and field sellers.
We also work with with a vast array of global and regional technology, agency, and systems integrator partners to deliver best in class solutions for our customers.
Where is the world are you marketing and selling your solution?
We’re in more than 50 countries across Europe, the U.S., and Asia.
What languages does the Showpad platform support today?
Today, Showpad supports the following languages: English, French, German, Czech, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Chinese (simplified - not traditional), Japanese, and Portuguese (Brazil).
What does Showpad offer in the way of pre-integration with popular business systems like Salesforce CRM, etc.?
Showpad offers robust integration capabilities for both sales and marketing professionals. We integrate with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Gmail, Outlook, and multiple cloud storage providers like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and more.
What does Showpad offer in the way of mobile capability?
The Showpad platform is mobile-optimized. In fact, Showpad’s co-founders – myself, Chief Product Officer Louis Jonckerheere, and Peter Minne – started a mobile development agency before starting Showpad. So we understood, long before others, the importance of building a platform that supports mobile as well as web to empower digital and field sellers.
How do you price for and package your solution?
Clients sign annual (or multi-year) contracts. Prices start at $35 per user per month.
There are many players in the sales enablement marketplace. Why do customers pick Showpad?
Customers pick Showpad because we provide a better buying experience and a fast time-to-value. Showpad is an analytics-powered platform that’s smarter than traditional sales enablement, with intelligent sales content powered by machine learning. With out-of-the-box templates and a rich set of APIs and SDKs, Showpad is faster to deploy than competitors, from smaller businesses to the largest enterprises.
Who do you see as your key competitors?
In our space, Seismic and Savo are a couple of our competitors.
In B2B sales, the buying experience has become a key differentiator, and it’s therefore become a major focus of ours. We believe that’s why we’ve been able to move to the forefront of our industry. We deliver a better buyer experience and the fastest time to value for both mid-market and enterprise clients.
Your company just received new financing. How will you be spending it?
We’re planning to use this new round to increase sales and marketing efforts in the U.S. and European markets and to accelerate product development.
So this new funding will sustain Showpad until approximately what date?
We weren’t looking for or in need of funding, but found ourselves in a position where several investors were putting term sheets on the table trying to get into the business.
We didn’t raise a massive new round since we still had enough cash to reach our next milestones and didn’t want to overly dilute the shareholders. But with an additional $25 million, we can be smart in accelerating our growth even more in 2018 and beyond.
Where is Showpad’s worldwide headquarters?
Showpad this year opened a U.S. headquarters in Chicago. Why now, and why in Chicago?
Chicago is now an established hub for tech talent, and as we expand our presence in North America, it was a great fit for us.
Our President and COO Jason Holmes is a Chicago resident, and has a passion for helping expand the Chicago tech community. He points to several key items that make Chicago such a great place for our North American headquarters: an attractive cost of doing business, a great university and research talent pipeline, and it’s an easy place to get to, especially for international companies like ours. There’s a direct flight from O’Hare to Brussels.
What’s next for Showpad in terms of geographic expansion?
In 2018, we will expand our presence in the Americas and Europe. You’ll see us open new offices in Europe as we expand our go-to-market teams. A real advantage for Showpad is that we have a strong European footprint: we know what it takes to successfully enter a new market and have a strong network to build on.
How many full-time employees does Showpad have? And what are your plans to expand the team?
Two-hundred and forty. Since November, we’ve hired 15 people in our new Chicago office. We’ll double that over the next quarter, with additional sales, marketing, and business development hires.
In Belgium, we will continue to expand our engineering team as well as sales, marketing, and professional services. We will continue to invest in the Showpad platform as we grow our go-to-market capabilities. In Ghent, we have 30 open positions, with a third of those in engineering. And we’ll be hiring additional go-to-market positions in additional European cities.
Tell us about your management team and board. What expertise in sales enablement do they bring to the table?
We have an incredible management team. I’ve worked with my co-founder and our Chief Product Officer Louis Jonckheere for nearly 10 years. Louis has always seen B2B selling trends before others. His early focus on mobile is a great example. And his laser focus on user experience and customer value for both marketing and sales have helped us deliver a platform that balances ease of use and enterprise-readiness for field and digital sellers better than any of our competitors.
We also recently hired Jason Holmes, the former COO of Marketo, as our president and COO. He brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience to the company. What makes Jason the perfect fit is both his deep understanding of the marketing and sales technology ecosystem and his experience scaling a hyper-growth SaaS company.
We’ve also added depth in marketing and business development by adding executives, such as our Vice President of Marketing Theresa O’Neil and our Head of Global Business Development Gauri Chawla, who have experience at companies like IBM and Oracle as well as a proven track record of success with scaling SaaS companies.
Our board members have been incredibly supportive and continue to challenge us to grow. We’re lucky to include the founder and Managing Partner of Hummingbird Ventures, Barend Van den Brande; the co-founder of Dawn Ventures, Norman Fiore; and Insight Venture Partners co-founder and managing director Jeff Horing, as board members. Jeff has invested in more than 30 companies – notably AirWatch (acquired by VMware), Greenfield Online (IPO, later acquired by Microsoft), Shutterstock (IPO), Teamviewer (acquired by Permira), and WIX (IPO Nasdaq: WIX) – and has been instrumental in supporting our massive growth over the last 2 years.
Executive Editor, TMC
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